Which vaccine?
December 9, 2021 11:42 AM   Subscribe

My five-year-old is due for a doctor visit next week. There is a recommended waiting period of two weeks between a flu shot and a Covid vaccine. So he will receive one if these (but not both) at the checkup. Which one should I ask for?

YANMD and obviously as we have an appointment scheduled, we will discuss with the ped. I’m just curious for opinions. He had a reaction to the flu shot last year, so I have been waiting to get it from his doctor so this could be monitored. On the other hand, his school has some Covid cases right now so maybe that is more urgent. Eventually, he will get both of them. I’m just not sure what to prioritize at this appointment.
posted by ficbot to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)

1) Having the flu shot previously confers some immunity through future years, just not as much.
2) He has no immunity to Covid yet.
3) Covid is a two-dose series, so if he gets the first shot now, then the flu shot in 2 weeks, he gets the 2nd Covid shot 2 weeks after the flu shot. Otherwise, it's 2 weeks longer before he's fully vaccinated against Covid.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:49 AM on December 9, 2021 [17 favorites]

The CDC says you can get both at the same time, but it is important to get the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as you can:
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine during the same visit?

Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time.

Even though both vaccines can be given at the same visit, people should follow the recommended schedule for either vaccine: If you haven’t gotten your currently recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine, get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can, and ideally get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
When COVID-19 vaccines were first available the CDC recommended waiting 14 days between the shots and other immunizations as a precaution. But the agency has since revised its guidelines and now says you can get them at the same time.
posted by RichardP at 11:50 AM on December 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

More specifically:
Can children get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine during the same visit?

Yes, children ages 5 years and older who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same visit. However, each injection is administered at a different injection site

If your child is 5 years and older, get their COVID-19 vaccine and annual flu vaccine as soon as possible. You can get both vaccines at the same time, but don’t delay either vaccination in order to get them both at the same visit. Both vaccines are recommended, and your child should get the recommended doses for each vaccine.

All children 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. Most children will only need one dose of flu vaccine. Your child’s healthcare provider can tell you if your child needs two doses of flu vaccine.
posted by RichardP at 11:56 AM on December 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: OP, it would be helpful to know where you are located. Here in Canada, for instance, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization is still recommending that there be a two-week wait between the COVID vaccine and seasonal flu vaccine for 5-11 year olds. So the CDC information is unlikely to persuade your pediatrician.

If you do indeed have to choose between the two vaccines, I suspect your pediatrician will recommend prioritizing COVID. COVID and the seasonal flu appear to have broadly similar health impacts on children, but a) your child still has some residual protection against the flu from previous shots, b) in all likelihood there are far more cases of COVID than the seasonal flu around you, and c) your child may be a source of COVID transmission to people from other age groups, for whom COVID is generally much more serious than the flu. So, COVID.
posted by ZaphodB at 12:01 PM on December 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

Just want to highlight that if your kid had a reaction to the flu shot, it makes sense that there is recommendation to wait two weeks between so he isn't dealing with a double reaction. Assuming the recommendation came from the kid's doctor (not the internet), you will want to go with that.

Given that COVID is a two shot sequence, getting COVID first means that the kid will be fully vaccinated sooner.
posted by metahawk at 12:01 PM on December 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

If you have to, or want to chose, it seems like COVID is the more immediate threat to both you child and your community. I don't quite understand why this is even a contest between the two, especially if you plan on getting both eventually.

Yes, the flu is bad, but COVID is so demonstrably, considerably worse and a much higher priority to gain protection from.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:08 PM on December 9, 2021 [4 favorites]

posted by number9dream at 12:09 PM on December 9, 2021

If I had to choose, I'd get the COVID for all the reasons everyone is saying, and because my child's school intends to consider relaxing some of their very very stringent distancing/masking policies if/when everyone is vaccinated against it. Presumably the flu monitoring could be done in-clinic by someone other than the actual doctor, so hopefully that appointment would be easy enough to schedule once he's had his checkup.
posted by teremala at 12:09 PM on December 9, 2021

Best answer: If you plan to get one first, please make that the COVID vaccine. Signed, a nurse who works in public health including giving vaccines.
posted by latkes at 12:24 PM on December 9, 2021 [6 favorites]

To explain my recommendation: COVID is a known, existing public health crisis today. Flu season has not really come on yet and no indications that this year's flu is especially dangerous. So COVID is priority 1.
posted by latkes at 12:27 PM on December 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Get the COVID this time, schedule a supervised flu shot while you're there.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:36 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Data point: Because I had cleared it with the pediatrician first, I elected to have my 6yo receive the flu shot and his first Covid shot within 5 days. No adverse effects whatsoever,
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Heads up: many freestanding pediatrician's offices do not have the capacity to do COVID vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine is a bit more complex to store and mix. You may want to confirm in advance that they can administer if you haven't already. There are many community sites that do provide pediatric vaccines if your pediatrician cannot.
posted by latkes at 2:00 PM on December 9, 2021

As someone who had COVID last year, get him the COVID vaccine ASAP. Yeah, it might not be as bad for kids as it is for adults, but you don't want him giving it to anyone else.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:42 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've given Covid shots (all Pfizer) to maybe a thousand 5 - 11 year olds, and then their 2nd shots, and can attest that very, very few complained of side effects after either. Haven't given so many pediatric flu shots, but of the handful I have most parents opted to have both shots together (different arms) rather than make a separate trip. Generally if kids complained at all about sore arms it was about flu. I'm a nurse administering vaccines in a neighborhood independent pharmacy that does not take appointments - all shots are walk-in, so we have been extremely busy since the Pfizer vaccine was approved for this age group, with huge lines on weekends, and more reasonably sized after-school lines every day since. We actually ran out of vaccine several times because of the demand and had to wait to be resupplied by the Health Department (for Covid vaccine), and the phone rang off the hook asking when it would arrive.

This is anecdotal from my experience, of course, but we had all kids wait around for 15 minutes, including kids who got flu vaccine, and not one had a severe reaction to either one. I agree with those above who recommend your child receive a Covid shot first over flu. Covid cases and hospitalizations are up all over the country and it's more and more a disease of the unvaccinated. You want him fully vaccinated as soon as possible.
posted by citygirl at 6:01 PM on December 9, 2021 [4 favorites]

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